And with that decision, my December immediately became pleasant and enjoyable. Imagine that. In fact, I did a fair amount of selfish knitting. I took some much needed time off. I enjoyed a glorious 5-day holiday with my wee family. We gorged on yummy eats, played games, and get this: we even got to sleep in! But because I wasn't stressing out over every little gift and every little detail, I was able to do a lot of thinking and planning. And so, the 5 things I was able to obsess about all December long:
1. Old Stash, Old Patterns
I can get easily distracted with shiny new things (ooohh...pretty!). Like yarn fresh from the mail box or a just released pattern. And more often than not I completely forget about things like, say, older stash and patterns that have been in my queue since 2009. I like to think my stash is at the point where I absolutely love every single skein of yarn in it. Or at least, every yarn has a purpose and reason for why it's still in the stash (Bernat Handicrafter Cottons, I'm looking at you). So why am I not reaching for those skeins at the bottom of the pile? Even after all this time, I still love them. So why not knit with them?
So in December I had made a conscious effort to do something about this. I had dug out the very first skein of fingering weight sock yarn I had ever bought and added to my stash (cause all my yarns before that skein was either worsted weight or chunky), and turned them into a pair of socks using a pattern I had queued 3 years ago. Once those were off the needles I dove into the stash again and plucked out the very first skein of yarn I had ever received from my very first yarn club and turned that into socks too. What a marvellous feeling it is to finally knit up yarn that has been in the stash since 2009/2010! And while I was rummaging around the stash, I came across several other skeins of yarn that I bought that, at the time, I thought I would die if I didn't have it in my hot little hands. I must knit those up too at some point this year!
Old stash. It's like new again when you haven't looked at them in over 4 years!
2. Sock Needles
Since I've been on a sock knitting roll, I've been thinking a lot about needles. I don't knit socks that often and so my usual sock needles are simple Knit Picks Nickel Plated Fixed Circulars. Even though I have several pairs of these, for some reason I just can't find a single set. Hmm...you know you've got too many WIPs when...
Over the past year I've been looking and trying out different sock needles, trying to find a favourite. And for those of you wondering, I prefer my sock needles to be metal. I get too nervous knitting with wooden needles so tiny, and feel like I could snap a needle at any moment given that I knit so tightly. So far I've tried out 4 different brands of circulars and I think I've finally found a favourite. Don't worry. I totally plan on reporting back as soon as I find out for sure.
3. Straight Needles
Fact: I haven't knit with straight needles since 2009. Ok, that's a teeny tiny lie. I did have a very brief encounter with a set when I was knitting a project involving super bulky yarn about 3 years ago. I mainly knit with circular needles for everything, regardless if it's knit in the round or flat. It's more of a comfort thing than anything. It's easy to evenly distribute the weight of a project on the needles when it's on a circular and therefore making it easier for my hands and wrists to handle long stints of knitting. But lately I've been wanting to knit with straights. Weird, right? I can't explain it. Maybe it's all the swatching I've been doing. Maybe it's all the scarves I'm planning on knitting (more on that later). Whatever it is, knitting with straight needles have been on the brain.
Yet my collection of straight needles is almost non-existent. I have a few pairs of those super long metal Susan Bates and aluminum Boyes from my earlier knitting days, but I can't imagine being comfortable with knitting with those. I don't plan on dishing out moola for a set of straights either. Luckily I received a few pairs in sizes that I use the most for Christmas in lengths that I think are much more manageable! Yay!! For those who follow me on Instagram, stay tuned for the several snapshots that I'm sure to take of them!
Other mason jar gifts that were given away: afternoon tea in a jar (a knit mason jar cozy that I have a stack of, a small tin of tea, a few tea filters, one jar had a tea ball, and honey sticks), coffee break in a jar (a knit mason jar cozy, a few packs of Starbucks VIA, a few pieces of fancy chocolate), and hugs and kisses with a few warm fuzzies in a jar (same as the teacher's gifts, but with a few homemade "warm fuzzies" pompoms with eyes). They're all easy to put together, have been well received, and depending on how you plan it can be quite cost effective. Everybody wins!
5. Silk Road Tea
In 2013 I was all about the fancy and novelty teas. You know, teas that were already pre-sweetened and had added artificial flavourings alongside the sprinkles, gold nonpareils, and tiny little candy canes. All yummy, all have their place in my kitchen cupboards. Maybe it was the copious amounts of holiday sweets that were popping up throughout the month but I was (and still am) seriously craving a straight up and solid cup of tea. My fabulous friend Liisa had gifted me a wonderful bag of Churchmouse Winter Tea when she first arrived in Canada. Sadly I have finished off the bag before the holidays began but this was the kind of tea I've been hankering for all month long.
So what's a tea drinker to do when the tea in question is only available in another country and will not arrive in time to quench that craving? Well, when you live in a city full of tea and flowers, you go back to the old favourites. Enter: Silk Road Tea.
Before I moved here, whenever I came to Victoria for a visit, I had always made sure to make a stop at Silk Road to stock up on my all-time favourite tea, Japanese Sour Cherry. The yummiest green tea that tastes just as delicious as it smells! My friends Kat and Erin and I used to buy this tea by the barrel! So, so nummy! But since I'm on a black tea spree I decided this time around to also stock up on some other favourites: Lychee Fruit, Emperor's Keemun, Mango Shade, and Peach Paradise. I'm not really a herbal tea fan, but I also picked up some Angelwater after trying out the insanely delicious Fairy Tea at the Sitka Cafe. Mmmm...Fairy Tea...
Anyhoo, before I start daydreaming about mugs of Fairy Tea, that's December in a nutshell. What were you obsessed with during the last month of 2013? Aside from getting gift knitting finished? That is, if you did any. I'd like to know!!